Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Smoking Ban
Mr Yip Hon Weng: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether the Ministry will conduct outreach to determine the percentage of the population that will support a smoking ban by the window or balcony of their residence; and (b) whether the Ministry will work with the Town Councils to pass by-laws on smoking bans with support from residents.
This House has recently discussed a proposal to ban smoking at windows and balconies of HDB flats and private apartments. My Ministry has shared our position that a smoking ban within homes is not a panacea for this issue, given practical challenges in enforcement, including privacy concerns.
Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor international best practices and improvements in technology that may open up practicable solutions, including legislation, to address secondhand smoke coming from homes. As with other key policy changes, we will engage and consult stakeholders prior to implementing these policies, including ascertaining the degree of support for a smoking ban in homes.
The Town Councils Act is administered by the Ministry of National Development. It is beyond the Town Council’s legal remit under the Town Councils Act to pass by-laws prohibiting smoking in homes, which are private spaces.
We will continue to work with government agencies, Town Councils, grassroots leaders and the community on a variety of approaches to address this issue, including encouraging individuals to be socially responsible and facilitating conversations between neighbours.